Glenn Tiffert

Research Fellow
Biography: 

Glenn Tiffert is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and a historian of modern China. He manages the Hoover projects on China’s Global Sharp Power, and on Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific Region. A contributor to the 2018 Hoover Report China's Influence and American Interests, he has worked closely with government and civil society partners to document and build resilience against authoritarian interference with democratic institutions. He currently serves on the executive committee of the Academic Security and Counter-Exploitation Program, an association of US universities established to help heighten security awareness in academia.

Tiffert is a specialist on the political and legal history of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and has published scholarship in English and Chinese on the construction of the modern Chinese court system and judiciary, the drafting of the 1954 PRC Constitution, the legacies of Nationalist judicial modernization, and the suppressed genealogy of the rule of law in the PRC. He is also pioneering the integration of computational methods drawn from data science into the study of Chinese history. His current book project presents the first archival study in any language of the takeover and reconstitution of an organ of the Chinese state (the courts) by the Chinese Communist Party. He earned his PhD from the University of California-Berkeley.

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Recent Commentary

The Authoritarian Assault on Knowledge

by Glenn Tiffertvia Project MUSE
Monday, October 12, 2020

An urgent new class of challenges to independent intellectual inquiry has emerged on the global stage. These challenges stem primarily from the vulnerabilities that economic and technological change have introduced into the knowledge sectors of open societies, including both mature and developing democracies. In recent years, intensifying marketization has placed ever-greater financial and competitive pressures on publishers, universities, and other knowledge-sector institutions critical to the functioning of democracies. 

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The Rise Of Digital Authoritarianism: China, AI, & Human Rights | Day 1

featuring Condoleezza Rice, Larry Diamond, Glenn Tiffertvia Hoover Podcasts
Thursday, October 1, 2020

The 1st day of The Rise of Digital Authoritarianism: China, AI, & Human Rights Conference featured opening remarks by Condoleezza Rice, director of the Hoover Institution and a panel discussion on "How AI is powering China's Domestic Surveillance State How is AI exacerbating surveillance risks and enabling digital authoritarianism?" This session will examine both state-sponsored applications and Chinese commercial services.

In the News

US-China Research Benefited Chinese Military Efforts

featuring Hoover Institution, Glenn Tiffertvia Taiwan News
Friday, July 31, 2020

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Cooperation between academics in the United States and Chinese universities with a military background benefited the modernization of China’s armed forces, a Hoover Institution report concluded Thursday (July 30).

Essays

Global Engagement: Rethinking Risk In The Research Enterprise

via Hoover Institution Press
Thursday, July 30, 2020

Neither the US government nor the universities and national laboratories in the US research enterprise are adequately managing the risks posed by research engagements with foreign entities. The task is quite simply falling through the cracks. Data with which to assess the performance of current frameworks for managing foreign engagement risk, to identify their defects, and to devise proportionate fixes is consequently in short supply. Dueling narratives have filled this evidentiary vacuum, pitting some who propose incremental adjustments against others who call for far-reaching change. Without a common set of facts to anchor the debate, consensus has proven elusive. This report offers a way forward.

Telling China’s Story: The Chinese Communist Party’s Campaign To Shape Global Narratives

by Glenn Tiffert, Renee DiResta, Carly Miller, Vanessa Molter, John Pomfretvia Analysis
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Well-resourced countries have demonstrated sophisticated abilities to carry out influence operations in both traditional and social media ecosystems simultaneously. Russia, China, Iran, and a swath of other nation-states control media properties with significant audiences, often with reach far beyond their borders. They have also been implicated in social media company takedowns of accounts and pages that are manipulative either by virtue of the fake accounts and suspicious domains involved, or by way of coordinated distribution tactics to drive attention to certain content or to create the perception that a particular narrative is extremely popular.

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Telling China’s Story: The Chinese Communist Party’s Campaign To Shape Global Narratives

by Glenn Tiffert, Renee DiResta, Carly Miller, Vanessa Molter, John Pomfretvia Analysis
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Well-resourced countries have demonstrated sophisticated abilities to carry out influence operations in both traditional and social media ecosystems simultaneously. Russia, China, Iran, and a swath of other nation-states control media properties with significant audiences, often with reach far beyond their borders. They have also been implicated in social media company takedowns of accounts and pages that are manipulative either by virtue of the fake accounts and suspicious domains involved, or by way of coordinated distribution tactics to drive attention to certain content or to create the perception that a particular narrative is extremely popular. 

Featured

Compromising The Knowledge Economy: Authoritarian Challenges To Independent Intellectual Inquiry

by Glenn Tiffertvia National Endowment for Democracy
Tuesday, May 12, 2020

This report explores the compromising effects of sharp power on the civil society institutions that democratic societies depend on for knowledge production, including universities, publishers, and think tanks. Authoritarian regimes—China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and others—are exploiting unanticipated vulnerabilities in open knowledge economies to challenge free intellectual inquiry from the inside. 

Analysis and Commentary

30 Years After Tiananmen

by Glenn Tiffertvia Journal of Democracy
Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Chinese Communist Party allows no public commemoration of the protest movement that it violently crushed in the vicinity of Tiananmen Square in 1989, but its private reckoning with that tragedy has never mattered more. President Xi Jinping has quietly taken Tiananmen as a guiding light, reading it as a cautionary tale of regime decay and a playbook for revival. This view has inspired his campaigns to tackle corruption, restore ideological discipline, and reclaim control over history. And the most lasting contribution of all to Xi's tenure may be the selective rehabilitation of traditional Chinese culture as a source of political legitimacy.

Analysis and Commentary

Peering Down The Memory Hole: Censorship, Digitization, And The Fragility Of Our Knowledge Base

by Glenn Tiffertvia The American Historical Review
Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Technological and economic forces are radically restructuring our ecosystem of knowledge, and opening our information space increasingly to forms of digital disruption and manipulation that are scalable, difficult to detect, and corrosive of the trust upon which vigorous scholarship and liberal democratic practice depend. Using an illustrative case from China, this article shows how a determined actor can exploit those vulnerabilities to tamper dynamically with the historical record.

30 Years After Tiananmen: Memory in the Era of Xi Jinping

by Glenn Tiffertvia Journal of Democracy
Monday, April 1, 2019

No event in its modern history haunts the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as deeply as the protest movement that swept the country during the spring of 1989. Around the world, millions witnessed a tragedy unfold that is now indelibly linked to the square that was its focal point, establishing Tiananmen as a metonym for a government’s punitive war against a remonstrating citizenry. Not long after crushing the protests as a “counterrevolutionary rebellion,” the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) imposed a cone of silence around the entire affair so complete that even to mention it is to touch the third rail of Chinese politics.

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